Dogs do so much to help humans. From service dogs to even bee dogs that protect the bee population, they are surely our best friends. A recent study that was presented during the 2019 Experimental Biology conference in Orlando, Florida, confirms that blood-sniffing dogs may change the future of the cancer detection field.
It is well known that dogs’ sense of smell is way better than ours. In fact, in Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz, she mentions that while we might notice whether there’s a teaspoon of sugar in our coffee, dogs could detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water.
While their scent of smell accuracy is up to 10,000 times better than ours, trained lab dogs succeeded to distinguish blood samples that belong to people who have cancer with the shocking accuracy of 96.7%.
A researcher on the study, Heather Junqueira, explains that using dogs to detect cancer might be even more efficient than other exams since they could detect it earlier. Furthermore, it cost way less than the traditional exams, and it is not invasive at all.
It is incredible to think that dogs could do such a thing, they are more talented than what people might think. For instance, four beagles were trained to differentiate between blood samples from malignant lung cancer patients to blood samples from healthy people. The study was performed at the BioScentDx lab by Janqueira her determined team. While one beagle wasn’t up to this, the others brilliantly distinguished between the healthy and the cancerous patients’ blood 96.7% of the time.
Now they work on a new study that tests whether dogs can smell cancer in breast cancer patients. They call breast cancer patients to donate blood samples so they could train cancer-sniffing dogs and then find out where the odor originates. Janqueira and her dedicated team are pretty confident that it would succeed as well.
The test is extremely cheap comparing to other traditional exams. It costs 50$ on their website.